Shweta Sharma on her vibrant, dream-inspired illustrations
Stumbling into the surreal technicolor world in Shweta Sharma’s illustrations – with dancing Teletubbies emitting steam from their ears and colorful mudras transforming into wide-eyed creatures – it’s no surprise that much of his work be inspired by their dreams. Shweta has a particularly active imagination that runs wild every night in her sleep. Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night and immediately has to pull out her sketchbook to record an idea before it fades away.
When morning arrives and she has digested her dreams from the night before, she can then begin to perform these recordings in fully formed pieces. While the characters are wild, wonderful and dreamlike, Shweta likes a clear geometric structure to arrange his illustrations. The grids and structures that appear in his work are all adapted from the symmetry of the art of his hometown of Jaipur. Born and raised in Rajasthan, the “land of colors” as the illustrator calls it, she now lives in Mumbai. But her colorful upbringing clearly influenced her path to illustration. With a mother who was always painting, a grandmother who was not averse to queuing outside temples to show Shweta the “most vibrantly detailed sculptures”, plus a crafty grandfather who would bring the machines under the young eyes of Shweta, his childhood was overflowing with creativity.
So, Shweta started creating things in his free time from an early age. She’s always been someone who’s comfortable being alone, “which made art a little bigger in my head,” she tells us. Working hard after after-school craft class (“Thank goodness for all the glitter”), Shweta got her first painting published in the school newspaper – “It was a big deal for a seven-year-old years.” While her cousins did their homework, Shweta usually happily drew cell biology diagrams. Since then, Shweta’s has continued to experiment, trying to find the perfect recipe to combine the “two primary ingredients – emotion and art”.
Despite being fond of biological drawings as a child, Shweta never felt she was very good at drawing realistic anatomy. Instead, she prefers to bring to life the surreal, fluid, and humorous characters that appear in her dreams. She always starts these illustrations with a drawing before scanning them. “I would hate the idea of losing touch with the authenticity of manual skills,” she explains, “and it’s personally a more satisfying process for me.”